I stand in the water and look up at the clock. 8 a.m. 8 a.m. central. In Sanfra it is 5 a.m. David is working hard to make to San Francisco. He is taking actions and learning new things every day. Life remains full of surprise and wonder.
I put on my goggles, raise my legs to squat against the side, then leap backward with my arms over my head. The water embraces me, its calm soothing presence removing the emotional chatter that often lives in my brain. I know that eventually the water will melt away the chatter leaving my thoughts clear...or at least with the illusion of clarity.
I only know one stroke; a sort of backward butterfly that I invented. It is not elegant but it does propel me to and fro from one end of the pool to the other. Back and forth I go for a minimum of 30 minutes, often for 45, once for a full hour and a half. However long it takes for my thinking to calm. It is difficult to describe the sensation (but when have I ever lacked the ego for an attempt at describing that which is beyond description?). One moment my brain and body are full of the tensions of fear, anger, anxiety, guilt, etc. The next my head feels empty and I sense only the motion of my body in the water.
Today is such a time. I watch the lines in the ceiling pass with each stroke. The emotions fade and I tackle the thorny question of why I took the trip to San Francisco. My glib response is that such activities help keep me out of the hospital, and it is true that I feel stronger each time I am able to tackle something that initially strikes fear within me. Yet this is only a partial answer. There is more to it.
Is it an innate desire to be a "good" person? How awful for me if this is the case. My experience of being on a mission to do "good" has seldom if ever been a positive one. More often than not I become blind while on a mission of "goodness". I become so focused on MY (or worse, a Divine) purpose that I am unable to see the person standing right in front of me. They become nothing more than a tool for me to use in my grand purpose of "doing good". If the tool is helpful in achieving my purpose then I cherish it and lavish praise upon it. If the tool cannot be turned to my "good" purpose then I toss it aside. In either case, I am so lost in my mission of doing good that I am no longer alive. I can only see, hear, taste and touch that which can be perceived through my filter of "goodness". I sincerely hope that I did not undertake the trip to do good.
So what then? Was the trip pre-ordained by a supernatural being for a purpose of its own? A purpose unknowable by me? Perhaps. Perhaps I had no choice in the matter whatsoever. If that is the case then no need to worry about it any further...I have no free will and thus the responsibility for the outcome lies with the being who chose me for the trip.
Was the trip an act of selfishness? Was it really nothing more than a desire to keep practicing those things which keep me out of a mental institution? Was it a desire to be famous and receive praise from others? I think this is at least partially true. Yet it is not selfishiness as I used to define the word. It is the same selfishness a jellyfish has when it captures a shrimp; the selfishness Doofus, my cat shows when he comes to me to be rubbed; the same selfishness a baby has when it reaches for its mother's breast. It is the selfishness of life striving to continue and flourish.
So yes, in the end the trip was a selfish act. There was an element of care for David and Joe within it, but if my only motive was care for others I could have taken a different path. I could have avoided bringing pain to Rejeanne. I could have sent the money to a friend in Africa. I could have donated the money to the food bank. I could have sent it to my daughter and her husband. In each case some would benefit and others would not. But, who can say or decide what would have been the greater good? Not I certainly. I lack the information and perspective to make such an absolute judgment.
Thankfully, that is not my job. I used to search the want ads looking for a job as "God". I never found one. Besides, based on the number of priests, gurus, politicians and do-gooders in this world there is an abundance of applicants ahead of me for the role of ultimate "decider". I leave it to them to determine the ultimate goodness of my actions. I will go have a cup of coffee - smell its rich aroma, taste the flavor from mountains half a world away and savor this moment of life.
This may be my last posting on David's Dream. Some of David's dreams have been fulfilled. I was fortunate enough to have witnessed this. David is hatching even more dreams as I write these words. Regardless, my role in the dreaming is at an end for now. There may be other dreams and chapters about this one but I do not see them now. Of course, I will continue as David's friend and help him when I can, but he has gained the strength and hope to carry on his dreams with or without me. In the end, isn't that the point? And anyway, it is time to plant fruit trees.